from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, John J.
subcontractor appeals a district court order denying a claim
for unjust enrichment.
McClean of McClean & Heavens Law Offices, Dyersville, for
Kirk of Ball, Kirk & Holm PC, Waterloo, for appellees.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Electric, Inc. (Reicher) appeals the district court's
ruling in favor of Atul Patel and Shri Ganapati &
Bajrangbali, Inc. (SGB). Reicher contends SGB was unjustly
enriched by receiving the benefit of work when Reicher was
not paid. We find Reicher did not establish a direct contract
between Reicher and SGB and cannot support a claim of unjust
Background Facts & Proceedings
August 19, 2013, SGB entered into a construction contract
with general contractor Main Street Developers (MSD), a
Wisconsin company, to build a commercial hotel property in
Waterloo. The contract specified a firm price of $4,
450, 000 and required any changes or substitutions be
approved by SGB in writing. Under the agreement, MSD was to
"provide all labor, materials, equipment and services
necessary to complete the Work." The contract had as an
exhibit a list of items to be provided by MSD, including
"Interior Lighting Fixtures (Permanent)."
hired Reicher for the electrical work on the hotel. The
contract provided MSD would pay Reicher $300, 000 for the
electrical work. After the project began, MSD approached
Reicher and asked for assistance in obtaining the lighting
fixtures; Reicher agreed for a price of ten percent of the
cost of the lighting. Reicher approached Crescent Electric
Supply Company (Crescent) to supply the necessary materials.
Following an initial partial estimate from Crescent, MSD
provided $70, 000 to Reicher for lighting fixture orders.
work had already begun, Reicher and Atul Patel, president of
SGB, met with a hotel chain representative who suggested
converting to LED lighting and provided a "spec
book" of appropriate fixtures. Reicher informed Patel
while the conversion would save electric costs, it would cost
more upfront. Reicher claims Patel said to change to the LED
lighting. Patel testified he never received a quote for the
lighting and did not have a formal meeting with MSD regarding
the LED lighting. No change orders were submitted to SGB or
approved for electric work or light fixtures.
not present at either LED lighting meeting, but was aware
Reicher was ordering and installing LED lights. The owner of
MSD testified the change in lighting was a separate agreement
between Reicher and Patel that MSD was not part of, and he
denied MSD was responsible for paying for the LED lighting.
Numerous other changes to Reicher's work were requested,
including electric car charging stations, floor boxes in the
conference room, rewiring offices, adding notification lights
to sump pumps, and additional outlets. Reicher also had to
rewire for some appliances when fixtures provided by MSD did
not match the electrical requirements on the plans Reicher
was working from. Reicher included costs for all changes in
its bill to MSD.
January 2014 through April 2015, Reicher ordered lighting
fixtures from Crescent. Crescent ordered and Reicher
installed the LED lights listed in the hotel chain's
"spec book." As the $70, 000 was paid over time by
MSD, Reicher made payments to Crescent; no other party made
payments on the light fixtures ordered for the hotel. At the
end of the project, Reicher still owed $106, 209.31 to
Crescent. Reicher provided all the invoices to MSD, and MSD
indicated Reicher probably would not get paid for everything.
One week before completion, Reicher raised the issue of
payment with Patel and SGB.
the time of opening the hotel, MSD walked off the project
without issuing a statement of substantial completion. After
discovering MSD and SGB would not pay for the LED lighting
and extra work performed, Reicher refused to do additional
uncontracted work on the project. Reicher did not complete
rebate forms for the lighting installed and did not complete
warranty work in the hotel.Some lighting materials were
returned to Crescent, ...